How to Become an Awesome Surf Paddler
Paddling is one of the most important aspects of your surf technique. Many people (even really strong dudes) don’t have the proper technique and miss some great wave riding opportunities because of it. Commit yourself to forming a proper paddle and you’ll get more waves and have more fun out in the lineup for the rest of your life!
1. When you are lying on your board the nose should be a few inches out of the water. If your nose of your short board is more than approximately 2-3 inches out of the water then you are too far back and wasting your paddle power. On the other hand, you don’t want the nose of your board to dip into the water either. If your nose is in the water, you are too far up.
2. The stringer of your board is the center. Always lay with the stringer running down the center of your chest and body.
3. Keep your knees and legs together. I can spot a beginner a mile away because they are usually paddling around with their legs apart. Don’t make the same mistake! It slows you down!
4. Lift your chest, neck and face away from the board when paddling. This will help you see where you are going, spot oncoming waves, keep the nose out of the water and will help you gain speed while paddling.
5. Make nice, even, alternating strokes. Reach out beside the nose of your board, drive your arm through the water and have it exit the water next to your legs. Always keep your fingers together!
6. To change direction lean slightly on the side of your board you want to go towards.
7. Kicking can help when trying to catch a wave, but rely mostly on your arms.
8. When you are really trying to get into a wave that is hard to catch, scoot up a tad, speed up your paddle and put your chin close to the deck. Most importantly, don’t give up!
9. When your hands begin to paddle on the face of the wave and you feel your board is being moved by the wave this is the time to stand up. If you’re up before this happens, chances are, you’re going to miss it because you’ve shifted your weight and have stopped paddling too soon!
10. If there’s an approaching open peak down the beach, go for it! Even if you don’t catch the wave you are practicing your paddle and adapting the mindset of a waterwoman (or man).
And there you have it, a few easy steps on how to become an awesome surf paddler! Now, get out in the water and go for it.